The Orion Civil War
Naturally, these fledgling civilizations turned their attentions to the cosmos, and to the possibilities of colonizing new worlds. At first such colonization was done in blissful isolation, but eventually these new Orion Sector civilizations encountered one another. The nature of such encounters varied; some were little more than two ships passing in the starry night while others were of the "shoot first" variety.
It was the rapid parallel expansion of these civilizations that brought war to the Orion Sector. Contact and conflict was inevitable as these territorial explorers clashed over the Orion Sector's finite stars. These burgeoning Orion civilizations suddenly found themselves far too close to each other for comfort or security. After several major conflicts erupted between the new neighbors, a diplomatic solution was initiated through the formation of the Orion Senate.
Sadly, too many self-important politicians with their own agendas filled the vast hallways and offices of the Orion Senate. Distrust and dissention grew rampant from the chaos, which quickly led to disaster as egos and ideologies clashed and heated words escalated into full-scale battles. Once again, the volatile races of the Orion Sector burst into flames. The Alkari, Bulrathi, Darloks, Humans, Klackons, Meklars, Mrrshans, Psilons, Sakkras, and Silicoids who now populated the Orion Sector, plunged it headlong into nearly 200 cycles of "civil war."
Designer's Note: This sector-wide conflict is simulated in the game Master of Orion.
These Wars conferred only fractional gains for these races and often at extraordinary costs. The military stalemates that frequently confronted these warring civilizations generated an endless cycle of developing more powerful weaponry in pursuit of "final victory."
With each new military conquest, the Humans proved that they were indeed the dominant force in these power struggles. The victorious Humans were shrewd and they promised the defeated races mercy in return for their support in the Senate. Alas, it was an offer that none of the races could afford to refuse, despite the Humans lack of believability.
The politically savvy Humans established peace among the warring civilizations one by one, usually relying on 'gunboat diplomacy.' The Orion Civil War ended when the Humans were elected leaders of the Orion Senate, legitimizing their rule.
The Pax Humanica
The Humans enjoyed a long rule of nearly 10000 Galactic Cycles (from 7950 to 17733). During this epoch of peace, self-proclaimed "enlightened utopians," through shameless demagoguery, emerged to rule this part of space. Protected from outside incursions because of the effects of the Long Night, these Orion Sector utopians labored in blissful ignorance of the dangers lurking close by. They seized this opportunity to methodically mold their portion of the Orion Sector into what they perceived as perfection.
During this time, an immense amount of utopian energy was put into the preservation of the "nature of the Orion Sector." Through invasive conservation policies, ecological zealots ruthlessly overturned both private lives and businesses in their crusade to reverse their perceived "ill effects" of over colonization and open up new areas for "diverse species habitation." The bio- and social engineers steadily reduced populations on these worlds to what they determined were "more manageable numbers" by forcibly relocating groups from their ancestral homes to newly opened habitable areas. Birth rates were also reduced by heavy-handed government policies of 'carrots' (free, safe methods of birth control and huge economic incentives to use them) and 'sticks' (taxes, institutional repression, and even imprisonment). Many religions were suppressed following their shrill denouncement by the ever-more tyrannical utopians. Their ultimate tool of retribution against those who defied their ideology was arrest followed by "telepathic reformatting" (an egregious punishment tantamount to brainwashing).
Development of more advanced technologies were placed on temporary hold while the utopians pursued perfection through the rediscovery of Fine and Liberal Arts. A Society for Development of the Fine Arts was established to preserve the "utopically correct" cultural aspects of each of these races and to oversee the training of its citizens through their approved apprenticeships.
The Orion Senate, wanting nothing to disrupt their pursuit of 'excellence,' declared the still occurring hyperspace disruptions as "too dangerous" for the common citizens to be put at risk. By ruling of the Senate, FTL travel was restricted to use by the Senators and members of the Fine Arts Society (i.e., the political and cultural elite). Since travel was now extremely limited, the Senate also ruled that no further revenue would be wasted in further development in space travel dynamics. This self-imposed isolation being created by the Senate to preserve their 'perfect worlds' would prove a very dangerous path to follow.
In 17488, while the Utopian Citizens of the Orion Sector became accomplished artists and writers (along government approved parameters, of course), the Antarans were devoted to reuniting their home world to their Hegemony. During this 'enlightened' millennium in the Orion Sector, while Orion technology was reverting evermore backward toward a more 'pastoral time,' the Antarans were making immeasurable advancements in all areas of technology, especially weapons of war. The Antarans knew that "first principles" always applied; that is, that the galaxy could be theirs through the violent use of force.
As all of this was occurring, new immigrants, drawn to the Orion Sector of space by promise of peace and protection, were silently taking up residence in the Orion Sector. The Elerians, Gnolams, Trilarians, and Ethereans each settled quietly onto their own home worlds where they sought to peacefully develop their civilizations amid passive neighbors.
NEXT IN THE BACKGROUND FICTION: "The Second Orion Civil War"
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